Planning our Czech Wedding

Finally some free time I could use to work on my literature review write a blog post  (:-)  and what do I end up doing….playing around making example wedding invitations online.

My Invitation (4) My Invitation (5)

But it is addictive, see here. With the online templates you can change the text, add your own photos and so on. So far J says all of my creations are too pink (even the purple ones). He is now keen to have a simple invitation with a protea on it, the South African flower I’ve chosen for my wedding bouquet. Let’s see how that evolves.

This past weekend we were kicked into wedding planning gear by J’s sister (and rightfully so, since we’re planning a June wedding but have not organized much yet at all). We’d done a bit of research about all the forms required to get married and had visited a priest at Christmas in Hradec Králové who’d informed us that to get married in a church we’d have to do the marriage preparation course. We’d also located a church in Berlin where we could do the course, although the usual parish priest was away so we’d have to wait before meeting with him. Other than that, we had not settled on either a church or a reception venue.

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Cathedral in Hradec Kralove, another possible wedding venue

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Checking out other churches around

After driving around a bit to check out some places over the Christmas holidays, our original idea was to get married in the chapel of Hrádek u Nechanic,  a 19th-century Gothic style Romantic château, since we want a small wedding, and it’s a lovely venue with big gardens, good for photos. From the website it looks beautiful inside (we were unable to visit as it was closed at the time we were there), and it’s close to J’s village. However the chapel only fits 30 people for sitting, and in case more than 30 people attend (we estimate around 40) we would not like people to have to stand. So back to the drawing board.

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I like the church directly in J’s village, that is out of use. It’s a beautiful building in my opinion. So J’s sister fetched the keys for us from the church caretaker so that we could look around inside. It’s the perfect size, but would need some cleaning and possibly some painting. I think even after some cleaning it would be fine, with fresh flowers and candles. Unfortunately at some point about 10 years ago, vandals broke two of the angel statues off their columns. You can see the damage where they were torn off, but that could be painted over. For interest, this church stands at the site where an original traditional wooden Czech church used to stand. This wooden church was apparently taken on a tour as a cultural item, and later the new church was built in its place. I’ve included here some photos of how the church used to look, and some photos of a similar (reconstructed?) church we visited at a cultural museum in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm in the Moravian region of Czech republic.

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My favourite village church

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The original wooden church

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Looking lovely in stormy weather

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Example of a wooden church in Frenštát pod Radhoštěm

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I think J thinks that church would need too much work in too short a time, and that’s assuming we’d be allowed to go and fix it up, it belongs to the Church. So we go to see another church in a neighbouring village. This church used to be a fort, and is 700 years old, the original stones are on the floor. It’s also a good size inside and would fit all of our guests. I prefer the architecture of the other church, but this church is nice, and it’s convenient, the caretaker / priest is also very friendly and helpful. Probably this will end up being our wedding venue.

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The next question then is where to have the reception. So far we’ve identified a number of restaurants that look nice, mostly in the countryside with lovely wooden interiors and some outside seating. We drove over the weekend to Nové Město nad Metují, as there was a wedding exhibition on in the castle there (quite appropriate for Valentine’s Day). The chapel there also looked nice, but was probably not much bigger than the one in Hrádek u Nechanic, and was also a bit far away perhaps. It was nice to visit the exhibition though, they had wedding dresses and other paraphernalia set up in the rooms of the castle. It was a good inspiration to start looking for a wedding dress.

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Driving through the countryside to check out wedding venues.

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We had good weather for our reconnaissance trip.

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Castle at Nové Město nad Metují

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Everything decorated for Valentine’s Day

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Later on, J’s sister showed me her box of wedding plans from their wedding, so we got a better idea of some of the things that need to be organized. Here’s our wedding planning list for now:

  • forms from South Africa to be legalized for Czech Republic and translated into Czech
  • church
  • priest
  • church course
  • reception venue
  • accommodation for guests
  • transport for guests
  • food
  • cake
  • flowers
  • decorations, including name tags for tables
  • invitations (first need to set a final date)
  • dress
  • shoes
  • bouquet
  • accessories
  • schedule for the wedding
  • booklet with tips about the area for guests visiting for the weekend
  • parents’ flights and schedule for their trip
  • …other things I have forgotten

Let’s see how quickly we can pull this together!

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